HAMPSTEAD - Charlie Horse, a new equine gift shop, will have an open house and Christmas preview noon-8 p.m. Nov. 2-4 at 2100 Cape Horn Road.
The shop, owned by Charlie Cole, carries an extensive line of gifts from the United States, Canada and overseas.
Unique gift ideas include stained glass and hand-crafted items, china, jewelry, books, plush animals, art, needlepoint, stationary, cards and more, all with an equestrian theme or motif.
At the open house, a door prize will be awarded and refreshments will be available. The store's new 58-page catalog also has just been published.
The public is welcome.
Cole became interested in horses at 15, when he began working with yearlings at a farm in Baltimore County.
"I was so green then, I didn't even know what a shank was, but I learned fast," Cole said.
Cole later left the farm to move to New York for a year. Upon his return to Maryland, he took a job at Ship's Quarters farm in Westminster.
Leaving horses for a while, Cole became involved for a few years with a domestic cleaning service.
In 1987, Cole again became involved with horses and found a job as a part-time stable hand at Hunting Fields Farm near Hampstead.
From there, Cole went to an Arabian horse farm in Parkton, Baltimore County, where he met Mary Alice Polyak, owner of Graphics Plus, a Pittsburgh-based advertising company that carries equine-oriented gifts.
"I began to represent her and market the product line part time," Cole said. "As time went on, I met more and more people in the wholesale-retail industry, and decided to start my own equine gift retail store at my farm."
Calling the company "Charlie Horse," Cole soon expanded the mail-order catalog business to the showroom and office on his farm.